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S. Arlington Observer
06-12-2015, 09:26 AM
After almost a year of almost daily commuting with a CaBi bike, I began using my own bike. Though it is fairly basic (a ten speed department store bike about 13 years old), it has more gears and is certainly lighter than the CaBi bikes.


I still use a bus for part of the morning commute (it is uphill and a long way from Shirlington to Courthouse - and I am not a morning type of guy.) I either put the bike on the front of a direct bus or ride to Crystal City and bus from there. I do ride home the entire way and look forward to the exercise and the chance to be outdoors.


The first day I got ready to hop on it to ride to CC on my own bike I realized I had no rack for my gym bag. So I had to finagle a backpack and a gym bag. The first time I tried to load the bike on my direct bus I had to get the driver to show me how. Iíve since installed a rear rack and mastered loading the bike on a bus. So my problems should be solved - and I can ride my own bike every day (using the bus partially in the morning and as a fallback in case of rain.) But the experience has given me a chance to appreciate the CaBi bike for what it is.


This a.m. I was back to a Bikeshare bike because it was a one way commute to Crystal City. (I am leaving to go out of town directly from the office.) I expected the experience to be somewhat of letdown, but it was not. CaBi bikes arenít for racing and I wish they had a higher gear. But on flat grades they work very well. The fatter tires are more secure on rough pavement (something I think I will especially appreciate during ice season) and yes, the storage in the front is nice. And fenders! Not appreciated by some, but I image will be missed when going through puddles on my personal bike.


Iíll probably still experiment with my own bike. But over time I realize that will mean more maintenance and wear and tear. So, I will also probably mix in the Capital Bikeshare option as well. Theyíre not racing bikes, but they are good solid reliable transportation. And somebody else always keeps them well maintained.

PotomacCyclist
06-12-2015, 10:27 AM
I started out with a triathlon bike, then a mountain bike too. But most of my rides over the past two years have been on CaBi. It's so much more convenient in a lot of ways. I just wish that the time limit was a little longer than 30 minutes per ride (before the over-limit fees get added).

S. Arlington Observer
06-12-2015, 10:55 AM
I started out with a triathlon bike, then a mountain bike too. But most of my rides over the past two years have been on CaBi. It's so much more convenient in a lot of ways. I just wish that the time limit was a little longer than 30 minutes per ride (before the over-limit fees get added).

That reminds me of an important point for new users. You can "restart" the 30 minutes at any docking station along the way. My commute home takes more than 30 minutes. So I pull into a station about 1/4 of the way into the ride, dock the bike for about 30 seconds and check it out again. It's like filling the tank with gas on one of those old fashioned modes of transportation. At first I thought I'd need to change to a different bike, but I found that the SAME bike can be recharged. I don't even remove my gym bag from the front compartment. Stand there for a moment, admire the sunset, reinsert the key and I am on my way.

Whenever one needs to travel a distance that might take more than 30 minutes she/he should scout out the docking stations along the way for recharging purposes.

PotomacCyclist
06-12-2015, 12:28 PM
I do check in the bikes along the way. But recently I've been doing some CaBi rides while mapping bike racks for RackSpotter. This means some back-and-forth riding, and meandering routes at times. Sometimes I forget to look at the Garmin and I lose track of how close I am to the 30-min. mark. Then I quickly look up the nearest bike station and head over there. (I've missed the time cutoff a few times. I'd prefer not to do that, but I guess there are worse things to spend a few dollars on than paying a little extra into the Capital Bikeshare system. I'm OK with that, as long as it isn't too much extra.)

KLizotte
06-12-2015, 01:49 PM
The Cabi style bikes in NYC are being upgraded (PotomacCyclist posted a recent article about this) so it's possible we may see new and improved Cabi bikes here as well. Hopefully with an add'l gear and lighter!

cvcalhoun
06-12-2015, 11:02 PM
I only wish we had a station close to my house. The lack of that is what has prevented me from ever getting a membership. If I've got to take my bike (or worse, a bus) to get to the CaBi in the first place (and to get home afterward), I'd rather just use my own bike. I'm envious of those of you for whom CaBi use is practical!

PotomacCyclist
06-13-2015, 12:46 AM
You can suggest new bike station locations on the crowdsourcing map: http://cabistations.com/

http://www.bikearlington.com/pages/bikesharing/capital-bikeshare-crowdsourcing-map/

Suggesting a location doesn't mean they will automatically add a station there. But if there is enough demand and the location makes sense (access to sunlight for the solar panels, relatively close to other stations, nearby retail/apartment buildings/offices, etc.), then they could add a station there.

DC, Arlington and Alexandria have announced plans to add bike stations this year. I don't remember what Montgomery County's plans are. But I found this article from yesterday that indicates the county has earmarked nearly $170 million in its six-year capital budget to improve and expand the existing bikeshare network in the county.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-politics/making-way-for-bicycles-in-a-sprawling-suburb-where-cars-have-always-ruled/2015/06/12/b5f235a6-0a26-11e5-a7ad-b430fc1d3f5c_story.html

Contact your local representatives and let them know that more and more people support Capital Bikeshare. Let them know where you would like them to expand the system. (I believe each jurisdiction handles its station siting independently.) They seem to be listening, even if the move toward a more balanced transportation system is proceeding in fits and starts.

cvcalhoun
06-15-2015, 09:25 AM
You can suggest new bike station locations on the crowdsourcing map: http://cabistations.com/

http://www.bikearlington.com/pages/bikesharing/capital-bikeshare-crowdsourcing-map/

Suggesting a location doesn't mean they will automatically add a station there. But if there is enough demand and the location makes sense (access to sunlight for the solar panels, relatively close to other stations, nearby retail/apartment buildings/offices, etc.), then they could add a station there.

DC, Arlington and Alexandria have announced plans to add bike stations this year. I don't remember what Montgomery County's plans are. But I found this article from yesterday that indicates the county has earmarked nearly $170 million in its six-year capital budget to improve and expand the existing bikeshare network in the county.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-politics/making-way-for-bicycles-in-a-sprawling-suburb-where-cars-have-always-ruled/2015/06/12/b5f235a6-0a26-11e5-a7ad-b430fc1d3f5c_story.html

Contact your local representatives and let them know that more and more people support Capital Bikeshare. Let them know where you would like them to expand the system. (I believe each jurisdiction handles its station siting independently.) They seem to be listening, even if the move toward a more balanced transportation system is proceeding in fits and starts.
I suspect a station in my area is unlikely. It's a purely residential area, and doesn't even have apartment buildings to increase the density. There is a CaBi station about 3/4 of a mile away, but I can think of few instances in which walking 3/4 of a mile to get to a CaBi would be preferable to using my own bike.

mstone
06-15-2015, 09:45 AM
I suspect a station in my area is unlikely. It's a purely residential area, and doesn't even have apartment buildings to increase the density. There is a CaBi station about 3/4 of a mile away, but I can think of few instances in which walking 3/4 of a mile to get to a CaBi would be preferable to using my own bike.

maybe if you were one of those <shudder> joggers?

PotomacCyclist
06-18-2015, 02:22 PM
What's wrong with running?

mstone
06-18-2015, 03:22 PM
What's wrong with running?

Absolutely nothing, if you're being chased.

GovernorSilver
06-18-2015, 03:54 PM
How are these bikes for uphill climbing? Is the lowest gear suitable?

PotomacCyclist
06-18-2015, 04:09 PM
Absolutely nothing, if you're being chased.

Mr. Happy strikes again

Why the strict insistence on separating out everyone by what they do, and creating little warring tribes? I spend almost as much time running as I do cycling. If we followed your approach of an exclusive no-one-else-allowed club, then someone like me should not post here at all because I dare to run. Oh, the horror! :rolleyes:

PotomacCyclist
06-18-2015, 04:16 PM
How are these bikes for uphill climbing? Is the lowest gear suitable?

I'd say it's OK for most hills in DC and Arlington. But the main challenge with steeper climbs like Walter Reed Drive in Arlington or some of the hills in Tenleytown is the weight of the bikes. They are significantly heavier than road bikes. I know some people will say that they can still beat most people on regular bikes while riding CaBi, which may be true. But the fact is that you will definitely notice the extra weight on hills, especially if you aren't a super-strong climber already. It's not impossible to climb, and it's not too bad for moderate hills.

If you're worried about it, try out some of the hills on your route on a weekend. Or take a slight detour, if possible, to avoid the steepest climbs. Sometimes there may be a slightly longer route that spreads out the elevation change over a longer horizontal distance.

mstone
06-18-2015, 05:13 PM
Mr. Happy strikes again

Why the strict insistence on separating out everyone by what they do, and creating little warring tribes? I spend almost as much time running as I do cycling. If we followed your approach of an exclusive no-one-else-allowed club, then someone like me should not post here at all because I dare to run. Oh, the horror! :rolleyes:
If you don't lighten up a little bit, you'll never be any fun at parties. Do you respond to everything with a wall of text in real life?

GovernorSilver
06-18-2015, 05:13 PM
I'd say it's OK for most hills in DC and Arlington. But the main challenge with steeper climbs like Walter Reed Drive in Arlington or some of the hills in Tenleytown is the weight of the bikes. They are significantly heavier than road bikes. I know some people will say that they can still beat most people on regular bikes while riding CaBi, which may be true. But the fact is that you will definitely notice the extra weight on hills, especially if you aren't a super-strong climber already. It's not impossible to climb, and it's not too bad for moderate hills.

If you're worried about it, try out some of the hills on your route on a weekend. Or take a slight detour, if possible, to avoid the steepest climbs. Sometimes there may be a slightly longer route that spreads out the elevation change over a longer horizontal distance.

Thanks!

I'm debating whether to ride my own bike to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival or take CaBi. Either way I'll be coming from the vicinity of Huntington Metro in Alexandria, taking Huntington Ave to either the overpass to Eisenhower (a climb but not as steep a grade as I've seen in Tenleytown) or to the pedestrian bridge between Rt. 1 and Washington St./MVT.

I've already been dissuaded by someone else from the CaBi option on the grounds that I might fall victim to "dock block" in a festival environment. I was thinking of CaBi in the first place for fear of "rack block".

Amalitza
06-18-2015, 07:53 PM
Thanks!

I'm debating whether to ride my own bike to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival or take CaBi. Either way I'll be coming from the vicinity of Huntington Metro in Alexandria, taking Huntington Ave to either the overpass to Eisenhower (a climb but not as steep a grade as I've seen in Tenleytown) or to the pedestrian bridge between Rt. 1 and Washington St./MVT.

I've already been dissuaded by someone else from the CaBi option on the grounds that I might fall victim to "dock block" in a festival environment. I was thinking of CaBi in the first place for fear of "rack block".

???

Not on a CaBi you won't be. You'll be taking metro to King Street (or Braddock Road, or wherever), or your own bike or car to one of the stations in Alexandria, where you'll pick up your shiny red bike to ride into the district on the nice flat MVT. No climbing (on a CaBi) involved.

Unless you are talking 2025 Folklife Festival, in which case maybe but I still kinda doubt it.

PotomacCyclist
06-18-2015, 09:18 PM
If you don't lighten up a little bit, you'll never be any fun at parties. Do you respond to everything with a wall of text in real life?

You're telling me to lighten up? Um, OK. Not even sure how to respond to that one.

If you don't want to read my posts, feel free to skip them. Or put me on Ignore. That won't bother me. Your choice. Was that too many words? Did I go past your mandatory character count?

PotomacCyclist
06-18-2015, 09:33 PM
Thanks!

I'm debating whether to ride my own bike to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival or take CaBi. Either way I'll be coming from the vicinity of Huntington Metro in Alexandria, taking Huntington Ave to either the overpass to Eisenhower (a climb but not as steep a grade as I've seen in Tenleytown) or to the pedestrian bridge between Rt. 1 and Washington St./MVT.

I've already been dissuaded by someone else from the CaBi option on the grounds that I might fall victim to "dock block" in a festival environment. I was thinking of CaBi in the first place for fear of "rack block".

I'm not familiar with that overpass, so I can't comment on that part.

As for CaBi, yes, the docks will probably be full during the Folklife Festival, although it could depend on what time of day you arrive. If you go during on a weekday, especially in the early afternoon, there might be enough back and forth traffic that there could be free spaces. But no guarantees.

If you have a smartphone, you should try the free Spotcycle app. It's developed by the same company (8D) that wrote the software for Capital Bikeshare. The app has near-real time info on bikes and docks. You can check the Capital Bikeshare website before you head out, but the bike/dock info can change during your ride.

If you aren't trying to get to a specific concert or program at the Festival, you could use a backup station if the closest ones are full. Spotcycle will come in handy there. Note that the Festival is moving over to a different section of the Mall this year, because of the renovations. They will be crammed into the area between 3rd and 4th St, with some programs taking place in the American Indian Museum.

P.S. I don't use the "dockblock" word any more. Mostly because of what the word is based on. Just my personal preference.

GovernorSilver
06-19-2015, 12:57 PM
???

Not on a CaBi you won't be. You'll be taking metro to King Street (or Braddock Road, or wherever), or your own bike or car to one of the stations in Alexandria, where you'll pick up your shiny red bike to ride into the district on the nice flat MVT. No climbing (on a CaBi) involved.

Unless you are talking 2025 Folklife Festival, in which case maybe but I still kinda doubt it.

I was thinking next weekend will be a typical Metro situation - 20-25 min. wait between Yellow line trains so I'd ruled out taking Metro. I could have sworn I saw a CaBi station near the downhill entrance to Huntington Metro.

I'll probably just take my own bike due to the high probability of dock block under festival conditions. I figure it's a lower risk of not being able to find a rack or other suitable spot to lock up my bike.

PotomacCyclist
06-19-2015, 01:22 PM
There are bike hitch racks on the east end of the American Indian Museum. 22 available spaces. I don't know if people know about these racks. I had ridden by a few times before finding them this month. You can't really see them from the street, but they are there. I posted it on RackSpotter earlier this month, along with a photo.

There are U racks on the Mall side of Jefferson Dr and 3rd St SW. This will be steps away from the Festival, but it means that those spaces will be taken quickly. There are only 8 spaces there.

There is a small wave rack down 3rd St. at Maryland Ave. People may not know about this one, but it only has 4 spaces.

If all of these racks are full, check out the larger racks surrounding the Air and Space Museum, next door to the American Indian Museum. There are 10 spaces on the north side of Jefferson Dr. There is a wheelbender rack on the north side of Air and Space and another on the south side. But both have damaged bars and they are placed right up against the wall. It might be tricky to actually use those racks.

Amalitza
06-19-2015, 03:02 PM
No, Fairfax County doesn't have capital bikeshare. I believe they're thinking of putting some stations in reston maybe sometime eventually. Pretty sure they're not even considering our area.

PotomacCyclist
06-19-2015, 03:13 PM
The last public statement I read from Fairfax about bikeshare was a vague expression of interest, that they could look at Tysons, Reston or Mosaic/Merrifield. But no definite plans and no timeline whatsoever.

Their long-time bike coordinator, Charlie Strunk, retired this year. He was the 1st and only bike coordinator. Seems like they still haven't found a replacement: https://www.governmentjobs.com/jobs/936023/fairfax-county-bicycle-program-coordinator-transportation-planner-iii

So it could be even longer before CaBi comes to Fairfax than if they had a permanent bike coordinator in place. Any Fairfax people with an interest in and the qualifications for the job? If so, check out the posting.